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Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his Answer of 8 April 2003, Official Report, column 133W, on autism, what consultations have been held on, and what definition will be used for, the collection of special educational needs data from schools and Local Education Authorities. [114503]

On 29 November draft guidance, including a draft set of descriptions of each of the types of SEN we will be collecting, was sent out to a sample of 50 schools, 30 LEAs and 50 voluntary organisations for consultation. At the same time the information was placed on the DfES Consultation website. Comments were requested on both the accuracy and the clarity of the descriptions and respondents were also asked to make general comments. The consultation closed on 6 March 2003 and 120 responses were received. Amendments to the guidance have now been made in the light of the responses received.A final version will be sent to LEAs and published on the DIES SEN website in the near future and a copy will be placed in the Library.